Filip Zadina was a spectator for the Detroit Red Wings‘ victory over the San Jose Sharks, a sign of just how far the former first-round pick has dropped on the depth chart.
Zadina had it coming: He has generally played in the top six and been a regular on the power play, but he has just four goals and six assists after 32 games.
So when coach Jeff Blashill wanted to make changes in the hopes of ending a two-game slide, Zadina got the hook Tuesday.
“I guess what happens when you want to insert somebody into the lineup you have to take somebody out,” Blashill said after the 6-2 win at Little Caesars Arena. ” And it’s honestly sometimes as simple as that.”
Coaches generally don’t change winning lineups, but forward Carter Rowney left in the third period with an injury, so that may mean a short spell in the doghouse for Zadina.
Pulling Zadina enabled a number of changes: Givani Smith was inserted into the lineup, and Michael Rasmussen moved up to play on the second line with Pius Suter and Robby Fabbri. Rasmussen had his best game in a month, earning an assist on Suter’s second goal.
Zadina, the No. 6 pick in 2018, was highly touted for his shot, but he has struggled to be effective at the NHL level. He has 47 points in 118 career games. He’s 22 and there’s certainly still time for him to figure things out, but it’s disappointing that he was such an easy candidate to be pulled.
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“What Filip wants to do is put himself so he’s not in the mix of players we’re talking about in who goes out,” Blashill said. “Ultimately if you don’t want to come out, put yourself in so you’re not in the mix. We don’t talk about that with Tyler Bertuzzi or Dylan Larkin because of what they’ve established themselves as players. I don’t think it hurts a guy once in a while to hit the reset button, kind of take some pressure off and then go get it. When Z comes back in the lineup, I’m hoping he can come back charging and playing really good hockey.”
Contact Helene St. James at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Red Wings’ Filip Zadina must prove he shouldn’t be scratched